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Jun
28th
2019

Looking at the pilot through season 9 eyes · 2:37pm Jun 28th, 2019

We’re halfway through the final season already. With the finale so close and almost a decade of pony, I figured I’d take a look at the premiere again. How does it hold up? What looks weird eight seasons later? What sorts of early-series quirks got ironed out later on?

I stink at introductions, so here we go.


Really digging the storybook visual style of the opening. I wish we’d seen more of it.

Raising the sun and moon is described not as “magic”, but as “unicorn powers”. Ah, the dissonance of early-show writing.

Considering how an opening infodump is a common example of bad writing, it’s handled pretty well here. Probably because it’s fairly short and gives information that’d be hard to show otherwise.

Side note to writers: “Show, don’t tell” is NOT an ironclad rule. Showing is more engaging, but telling is more efficient. If, say, showing a character’s backstory takes a super long chapter that hurts the pacing, but telling it takes only a paragraph or two, maybe you should consider telling.

Although the more I think about it, the less sense the book makes. Why not name Celestia and Luna? (From an in-universe perspective. Obviously, out-of-universe, it’s deliberately vague to keep the surprise of Celestia being the elder sister until the end of part 2. And I hate hate hate the “in-universe writing or dialogue is deliberately vague to hide twist” trope.)

Remember how strange it used to be seeing Twilight with wings?

The animation is still solid, but compared to later seasons, man is it basic. The “cycle” part of “walk cycle” is obvious, hair is a bit stiff, everypony has the same body type, facial expressions aren’t that varied, and almost every angle on a pony is straight from the side.

“Does that pony do anything except study?” It’s an “as you know” exchange, but it still makes sense in context between it being during the summer and Spike later saying, “But we’re on a break!” Most bookworms do something besides study every now and then, but not Twilight (yet).

Canterlot barely looks like a city at this point, more a collection of towers in a field. It’s really weird.

Where’re the colored magic auras? Where’re the colored magic auras?

Once you start looking for “show elements of world for first time” quirks, they’re really noticeable. Twilight has to concentrate a lot for her first on-screen spell to show the link between her magic and the book coming off the shelf, then does it casually every other time.

The lack of references to Luna as Nightmare Moon remains baffling, considering Celestia was there.

Side note to writers: Luna was banished INTO the moon. Not TO. INTO. She didn’t physically faff about on a different celestial object for a thousand years; it served as a more magical or metaphysical prison, like a soul jar. She might not have even been aware of time passing.

It’s a bit of headcanon on my part that Celestia made up the “stars will aid in her escape” legend because she knew what would happen. Or maybe even set them up herself to let Luna out when she was prepared.

Spike is Twilight’s messenger dragon and can’t spell “brink”? Huh. More early-installment weirdness, I guess.

Celestia’s response was fast. How much you wanna bet she had the letter pre-written for when Twilight would stumble upon the legend of the Mare in the Moon?

Holy cow, Twilight is arrogant here. I mean, she’s obviously smart even this early, but dang. It seems like she says “the princess trusts me completely” every five sentences.

“Thank you, sirs.” Double-purpose line! A: It establishes Twilight as polite and courteous even if her social skills are lacking. B: A subtle reminder that the pony extras are sapient and appreciate thanks. (First episode, remember, even if we take it for granted now.)

Pinkie Pie’s strange reaction to Twilight’s greeting actually goes a good way in justifying Twilight not wanting to hang around and make friends as she checks up on the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration.

Wow. Sweet Apple Acres is actually more detailed here than in the rest of the show.

Ashleigh Ball must’ve not settled on a voice for Applejack just yet; it’s higher-pitched than usual and feels like she’s talking a bit fast.

That’s a lot of Apples. “Alright, we need to come up with a little under two dozen apple-based names for Applejack’s family. Most of them are never going to be used again. Let’s get to it!”

Rainbow Dash is identified not as a “pegasus”, but a “pegasus pony”. Strange, especially since we never hear “unicorn pony”.

Twilight and Rainbow discussing the Wonderbolts is another “as you know” bit, but a bit more seamless; Twilight brings up the fact that they’re “the most talented fliers in all of Equestria” sarcastically when faced with a (seemingly) lazy pegasus declaring she’s going to join them. It’s kind of like: “You wanna work for Google? Biggest-search-engine-in-the-world Google? You can’t program anything more complicated than bubble sort!” Still not perfect, but eh.

Rainbow Dash says she can clear the sky in ten seconds flat. The sky-clearing scene is ten seconds long. Yay attention to detail!

Spike falling for Rarity in spite of being a dragon is actually supported by studies that show that animals raised by humans often attempt to court their human handlers. They imprint on humans and view them as potential mates.

Wow. The animators designed over half a dozen outfits for Twilight that appear on the screen for less than a second each just to establish Rarity as a fashionista. Nice.

Of course the blue jay is the bird that’s singing out of rhythm. Blue jays are assholes.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how sublime the worldbuilding in this show is? Rainbow Dash is due to clear the sky, which nopony questions, the same way nohuman questions that cars run on gasoline. The most unusual thing about Fluttershy teaching birds to sing is that some of them sing incorrectly. There’s an entire annual celebration for their ruler to raise the sun that’s been happening for a millennium. Spike burping up letters is old hat. Twilight goes to Ponyville in a flying chariot and spends the entire time grumbling about the lousy job she has to do. It’s efficiency on the same level of “the door dilated” (Beyond the Horizon, Robert A. Heinlein); it gives us an idea of what another world is like by showing what’s mundane in that world. And it’s dropped so casually that we barely recognize it’s happening; whatever problems these two episodes may have, “overly slow due to excessive worldbuilding and exposition” is not one of them.

I think Fluttershy’s first glimpse of Spike is the only first-person shot in the entire show.

Fluttershy not knowing dragons could talk might seem a bit strange when nopony else is surprised, except that “Dragonshy” would establish she’s terrified of dragons, so of course she wouldn’t go seeking out information on them.

Twilight, Spike, and Fluttershy arriving at Golden Oaks in the evening made me realize just how few scenes take place at dawn or dusk. They all seem to happen in the middle of the day or during the night.

Twilight treats Spike rather callously throughout this episode. Yanking a book so hard from his grip that he falls off a ladder, yelling at him for not knowing how to spell words, throwing him off her back to get rid of Fluttershy… This is either stress or Twilight really needing to learn about friendship.

Huh. Lyra was in the first scene with Twilight running to her tower, and she’s also at the party talking with (not-wall-eyed) Derpy. She must really travel a lot.

Holy crap. The background ponies are barely moving. I can’t remember seeing a crowd scene so static.

There’s the Derpy we know and love!

Twilight pours the hot-sauce-she-thinks-is-juice with her mouth? Maybe I should have unicorns not using magic when they’re sufficiently done with it all because they can’t muster the mental effort to control it.

Oh, look. Two Colgates in the same, fairly close shot. Thank goodness we have so many more assets now.

“All the ponies in this town are crazy!” Including you, Twilight. Especially you.

Wait a second, the whole town broke into Twilight’s house to throw her a surprise party. Can you charge people for “breaking and celebrating”?

Is it just me, or do the Mane 6 sans Twilight demonstrate which Element they’re attuned with in their first interactions with her? Applejack volunteers information on her family (that’s a stretch, I’ll admit), Rainbow Dash declares she’d never leave Ponyville hanging, Rarity stops decorating the town hall to give Twilight some dresses, Fluttershy corrects the off-key bird super gently, and Pinkie throws the best, funnest party she can.

Of the six, I think Rainbow’s introduction is the most effective. In the space of about two minutes, we get that she’s fast, friendly but not afraid to laugh at her friends, has dreams of being a stuntpony, thinks very highly of herself, is justified in those thoughts, and always pulls through for her friends.

Why are they watching the sun rise indoors?

Boy, Nightmare Moon sure captured Celestia quietly. I wonder if Celestia didn’t put up a fight on purpose to get Twilight on the road to the Elements as soon as possible.

When Nightmare Moon addresses the crowd, you can see so many copy-pasted ponies. Dang.

Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo all huddling together in fear when two of them won’t be introduced for another nine episodes and the other has barely appeared? Which ties into the “friends can share a special connection before they even meet” message from another episode in the final quarter of the season? Planning ahead is fun!

Pinkie just gives no craps when Nightmare Moon appears, treating her name like a guessing game. Maybe I should write a story where yet another villain returns to menace Equestria, but the first pony he meets is Pinkie, who’s so not-scared of him that it destroys his self-esteem and leaves him running away in tears. Then she chases after him, apologizes (“We’ve just faced so many bad guys that you’re kinda not really that special anymore. Sorry!”), and befriends him.

And where Pinkie gives no craps, Rainbow Dash gives so many craps that she attempts to attack Nightmare Moon immediately. The above villain’s brother returns at the same time (they’re in an alliance of evil), only for Rainbow to pile-drive him into the ground before he’s ten words into his villainous gloating.

Luna speaks in outdated linguistics in her first appearance, Nightmare Moon does not. Hmm.

The episode ends on an ancient monster declaring the sun will never rise again, insane laughter, an ominous score, and a “To be continued…” card. CUE HAPPY CREDITS MUSIC!

I can understand the guards’ first reaction to an unknown alicorn who kidnapped Celestia being trying to capture her (job obligation, if nothing else), but Mayor Mare’s? What did she do before becoming mayor? Heck, depending on how you interpret the scene, she decided Nightmare Moon needed to be captured before the guards did.

The Elements of Harmony: A Reference Guide brings up an interesting point I haven’t really seen in other fantasy stories: once objects like the printing press become widespread and it’s easy to distribute information widely, it’s a lot harder for information on priceless artifacts to get lost, because researchers of the artifact can easily copy all the info they’ve gathered. Now I want to see a story where the heroes just research the MacGuffin on Wikipedia. Alternatively, Twilight has to find a MacGuffin that’s supposedly been lost forever, but rather than not having any books on it, she has too many, because a good ninety percent of them are conspiracy-theorist nuts claiming some secret history for it in the vein of the HAARP facility supposedly controlling the weather.

When Twilight lists each of the first five Elements, the camera focuses on the pony who bears it. Foreshadowing? In my little girls’ cartoon? It’s more likely than you think.

Also, I like that not everything about the Elements is known. A lot of the time, it seems like the heroes know everything about whichever artifact they’re looking for except its location.

Why was Nightmare Moon hanging around Twilight’s library to hear about the Elements? “Ha ha ha! Now I can rule Eques- Wait. Is it the same Equestria it was a thousand years ago? Booger. Ugh, time to do some research.”

The rest of the Mane 6 following Twilight into the Everfree so easily is a bit strange, considering they’ve all known her for less than a day, but I can roll with it. Still, a line like, “If you’re rescuing Celestia, we want to help!” would’ve been nice.

At this point, I can only assume that Rainbow’s assertion that nopony who’s gone into the Everfree has ever come out is an in-character exaggeration. I mean, a season ago, the Mane 6 plus Starlight went camping in it. And even Zecora lives in it with no problem in this season.

An early sign that Fluttershy isn’t quite the scaredy-cat she thinks she is: when the cliff collapses, she panics, but still immediately dives in to help.

Couldn’t Applejack just say, “Let go, Twi. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy’ll catch you. See ’em right there?” Damn honesty is hard to properly demonstrate. It’s just one of those things that people assume is always true but is casually bent all the time. Poor Applejack. (At least she was the only non-pegasus to save herself from the cliff collapse.)

Rarity is the first pony to attack the manticore by kicking it right in the face. Some nice implications of hidden depths.

I just noticed that unicorn horns have a solid line where they connect with the head, unlike later episodes. It’s hidden by a pony’s mane most of the time, but it’s obvious on Rarity.

Given their fairly mundane jobs, Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash are pretty nonchalant about attacking the manticore. I wonder what they were up to before the show.

Fluttershy screaming, “Waaaiiit!” is a bit Pinkie-ish. Even the manticore’s surprised. I also love the shift in music.

Who’s a cute giant murder-kitten-scorpion? Manny is! Manny is! I prefer it when Equestria’s arcane wildlife is based on mythology or folklore rather than being completely made up for the show. (Side note: I’ve always liked the design of manticores. And “manticore” is fun to say.)

For all that she fails to stop the Mane 6, you can’t fault Nightmare Moon for trying and refusing to give up. She even changes up how she tries to stop them. Villains in stories with an older target audience have been content to sit back, let the heroes run around, and toss some mooks at them once every twenty-five chapters even though that didn’t work the last time.

Although her third attempt is weak. Cliff collapse doesn’t throw them to their deaths? Manticore fails to maul them? Then surely some scary trees will stop them!

“Tell me she’s not-” “She is.” Already, the phrasing kind of implies that breaking out into song isn’t uncommon in Equestria, and their surprise is more, “She’s doing that now?”

If Granny Pie is (partly) responsible for Pinkie understanding the power of laughter, I wonder how she got along with the rest of Pinkie’s family. Maybe Pinkie’s parents were ultratraditionalists who wanted nothing to do with Granny because their worldviews were so different, then Pinkie’s first party mellowed them out enough to repair the bond.

There’s something interesting about positive emotions alone dispelling dark magic here. But it’d be weak if any problem caused by magic could be solved with jokes. (Outside of a comedy. “…and since that day, everypony in this town has been cursed to see their loved ones as hideous- How did you break the curse already?!” “I laughed at it, silly! Did you hear the joke about jokes?” “…No?” “I’ve never meta pony who had!”)

The scene with Steven Magnet remains one of the most casually bizarre scenes in the entire series. “Hey, did you see the new My Little Pony show yet? Yeah, a unicorn cuts off her tail so a camp sea serpent can use it as half a mustache. This proves she’s worthy of wielding an ancient artifact of immense power.”

There’s probably some symbolism in the Shadowbolts’ coloration besides just darkness, but I can’t think of it at the moment.

As far as magic goes, “transfiguration into three stunt pegasi with their own uniforms” is a remarkably specific power. I guess once you’ve spent your immortality studying all the normal branches of magic, you want to get weird every now and then.

Nightmare Moon knowing that Rainbow wanted to join the Wonderbolts implies a mind-reading spell. Related to dreamwalking, maybe?

Rope bridges can’t last forever and will eventually disintegrate. Yet this one, although broken, is still strong enough to support the weight of everypony once fixed. Furthermore, the ropes were cut/untied from the far end of the chasm. Celestia must’ve been busy behind the scenes.

Now that we know that the Castle of the Two Sisters is where Celestia banished Luna, I wonder if the Everfree was a normal forest when the castle was built, and Celestia’s and Nightmare Moon’s fight caused the magic in it to go haywire.

There’s something amusing about the Mane 6 finding the Elements, then going, “Okay, now what?”

Twilight gets teleported once and immediately knows how to perform it. Her special talent’s magic, all right.

It’s kind of darkly hilarious how the Elements just fizzle out when Twilight tries to make the sixth appear. Can you imagine if the hero tried to use the Ancient Enchanted Sword of Smite Evil against the villain in the climax only for the enchantment to break because it was so old?

When Twilight is explaining which of her friends corresponds to which Element, I like how the first few are confused about what’s happening while the last few just roll with it.

The Elements of Harmony: purify insane alicorns and repair tails. Do they also make julienne fries?

The first mention of cutie marks in G4: Fluttershy pointing out that Rarity’s Element looks like her cutie mark.

In hindsight, it’s pretty lucky that the other Elements were the ponies in charge of various aspects of the Summer Sun Celebration, forcing Twilight to talk to them while overseeing preparations. But then, Pinkie wasn’t in charge of anything, so it probably would’ve turned out alright in the end.

Celestia’s entrance: descending from the sky in a ball of brilliant white light. Considering what the show started out as, not bad, even if it gets outdone later.

Celestia’s mane moves a touch awkwardly, like it’s in a different frame rate from everything else. My guess is that there wasn’t yet a dedicated “Celestia’s mane” asset, so it needed to be animated by hand. But I don’t know much about animation, so take that for what it’s worth.

What’s this? Celestia and Luna are sisters? What a tweest! Next you’ll tell me that Tony Stark outs himself as Iron Man! (Seriously, it’s kind of strange that this is treated as a surprise at all, when it was clearly stated in the beginning that the younger sister became Nightmare Moon while Celestia being immortal is casually dropped as unimportant.)

Small matte-maned Luna is weird. And cute.

“Hey! You know what this calls for? [scene change back to Ponyville] A party!” Somehow, waiting hours over the trip back to answer her own question is a very Pinkie thing to do.

The wreath put around Luna’s neck as a symbol of peace consists of mixed red and white roses. Red and white roses were the respective symbols of the Houses of Lancaster and York when they fought in other in England’s Wars of the Roses. When Henry VII, a Lancaster, married Elizabeth of York to unite the two houses as the House of Tudor and end the conflict, the Tudor symbol combined them. Symbolism!

Wow. Wow. The background ponies standing stock-still and only looking to the left or right in their default poses looks unbelievably awkward.

Somewhere, there’s an alternate universe where Twilight didn’t quite get the right message from Celestia’s mandate to “study friendship” and became a psychologist. Also, given how potent friendship is in Equestria, Celestia basically just turned Twilight into a nuclear weapons physicist.

And we end on Pinkie’s first fourth-wall break. Fitting.


Compared to the series as a whole, I think the pilot is a middle-of-the-road episode. The plot is very simple and being the first episode means it needs to spend a lot of time just setting stuff up for the whole series, in addition to its own story. But there’s very little that’s actually wrong with it; it just doesn’t do some things as well as it could have. The pacing is solid and all of the character introductions are handled nicely, with the characters themselves pretty well-developed for the time we spend with them. As a series premiere, it does everything it needs to do and gets Friendship is Magic off to a strong start. Most of the differences come down to subtle visual details: background ponies, character designs, how magic looks, etc. The world feels the same for the most part, barring a few tiny details. Twilight’s a bit of a jerk in the first episode, but the change can probably be attributed to character development.

Now, who wants to bet that the rest of the Mane 6 get alicorned in the series finale?

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Comments ( 15 )

I always enjoy reading reaction reviews, and this was quite good and also entertaining. :D Honestly, my only reasons for not enjoying the series premier were 1) Pinkie's forced "Oh, girls, don't you see?" which was just... THE most unnatural line I can recall a character saying in the whole show, and 2) Applejack's very awkward 'proof of honesty' thing, which was really more of an unnecessary trust exercise than a matter of honesty at all. But overall, it could be worse.

Twilight later became Best Pony, but she was, um, a bi-er, acting grumpy in that premier. It seems even Spike was confused. The fact he got a gift implies he expected to go to the party implying he and possibly Twilight have done so before? He actually seems surprised by Twilight's behavior. My theory is that Twilight and Moondancer used to date and they had the breakup from Tartarus leaving both of them to retreat from the world. It explains Twilight's moodiness and Moondancer's seclusion-maybe the party was even a last ditch attempt at getting back together.

I think Fluttershy’s first glimpse of Spike is the only first-person shot in the entire show.

There's another one in "Secret of My Excess," which is probably the only first-person flashback in the show.

Twilight, Spike, and Fluttershy arriving at Golden Oaks in the evening made me realize just how few scenes take place at dawn or dusk. They all seem to happen in the middle of the day or during the night.

To be fair, how long are dawn and dusk when the sun and moon are manually operated?

Unicorns not being able to telekinese out of sheer, focus-destroying frustration is a nice touch.

Oh, look. Two Colgates in the same, fairly close shot. Thank goodness we have so many more assets now.

I remain convinced that all the reused background ponies in Seasons 1 and 2 are changeling harvesters. Not intentionally at the time, but it presents a great Watsonian explanation... if you accept that the average pony has the observational skills of a sponge. (At which point I remind you that Plainity and Eyepatch were a thing.)

Pinkie accidentally destroying a villain's self-esteem is fantastic and you should definitely do it.

Now, who wants to bet that the rest of the Mane 6 get alicorned in the series finale?

(raises hand)

The pilot does hold up well, awkward backgrounds and Early Installment Weirdness aside.

I love this breakdown! These are the things that stuck out to me the most:

Spike falling for Rarity in spite of being a dragon is actually supported by studies that show that animals raised by humans often attempt to court their human handlers. They imprint on humans and view them as potential mates.

This is exactly what my parrot did. She chose my mother as her mate and basically hates almost everyone else. Except she does have a mistress. :derpytongue2:

The Elements of Harmony: purify insane alicorns and repair tails. Do they also make julienne fries?

I have nothing to say but :rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:

What’s this? Celestia and Luna are sisters? What a tweest! Next you’ll tell me that Tony Stark outs himself as Iron Man! (Seriously, it’s kind of strange that this is treated as a surprise at all, when it was clearly stated in the beginning that the younger sister became Nightmare Moon while Celestia being immortal is casually dropped as unimportant.)

You'd know better than me since you obviously just watched the episode(s) and I haven't, but IIRC, it was the Mane 6 minus Twilight that made that reaction. It wouldn't surprise me that Twilight had already figured everything out, but the others didn't have all the background info about the legend, so them being surprised isn't necessarily unwarranted.

About your last comment: I've said this elsewhere, but this would not surprise me in the slightest. Think about it—Celestia and Luna are willing to retire and pass the throne off to Twilight and her friends. This implies (and it seems Twilight admits) that she wouldn't be fit to rule if they weren't with her. Since we now have a new immortal alicorn ruling Equestria that needs her friends, it seems like a given that they would need to be immortal, too. Don'tcha think?

Now, who wants to bet that the rest of the Mane 6 get alicorned in the series finale?

I'm kinda surprised they haven't already. I'd give it a 50/50.

Nice analysis, Rambling.

Really digging the storybook visual style of the opening. I wish we’d seen more of it.

Something tells me that's the way the show's going to end.

That little thing about the expert worldbuilding is my favorite part of this blog. It's one of those things that you always kinda recognize, but it takes someone else pointing it out for you to fully appreciate it. No wonder this is the few shows that I can write fanfics for; there are so many nooks and crannies to explore!

And while we're on the subject of worldbuilding, this blog also touches upon one of my biggest concerns going into G5; I can't help but fear that maybe the people behind it might try to do things too quickly and too in-your-face, and the G5 show will just end up collapsing under the weight of it all. Granted, I have faith they'll do it at least decently, but it's one of those things I can't help but be a little concerned about, you know what I mean?

What I'm trying to say is there's a right way to build the world of a story, and G4 pretty much nailed it. Here's hoping G5 will do the same!

The Elements of Harmony: purify insane alicorns and repair tails. Do they also make julienne fries?

They will not break- ...they broke.

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Now, who wants to bet that the rest of the Mane 6 get alicorned in the series finale?

RHJunior did a wonderful story on just that, but he’s been banned by fimfiction for politics.

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Someone else I can't recall did one too. It's called "So You've Become An Alicorn"
Edit: just kidding it's called "So You've Grown Wings" and is by Steel Resolve

Side note to writers: “Show, don’t tell” is NOT an ironclad rule. Showing is more engaging, but telling is more efficient. If, say, showing a character’s backstory takes a super long chapter that hurts the pacing, but telling it takes only a paragraph or two, maybe you should consider telling.

Telling can be, and in the case of this episode was, more entertaining than showing. You just have to do it with style, for example the story book opening. Also, I'm pretty sure they use the Two Sisters because that makes it feel more like a fairy tale where sometimes the main character has a name, but generally it is all just Scorpion, Frog, Step-sister, Miller's Daughter, Prince, etc.

In hindsight, it’s pretty lucky that the other Elements were the ponies in charge of various aspects of the Summer Sun Celebration, forcing Twilight to talk to them while overseeing preparations. But then, Pinkie wasn’t in charge of anything, so it probably would’ve turned out alright in the end.

Well, in Celestial Advice, we saw that Celestia already had an eye on the 5 of them, it is even the reason she sent Twilight in Ponyville in the first place. I guess it's not too far fetched to think she put them in charge of the Summer Sun Celebration, and then asked Twilight to check on them. Except for Pinkie as you said, but maybe Celestia know she was friend with all of Ponyville and will be willing to befriend a newcomer.

Can you charge people for “breaking and celebrating”?

Well, "breaking and decorating" is listed as an anti-crime in Reaper Man, which Pinkie Pie is definitely guilty of...

Rarity is the first pony to attack the manticore by kicking it right in the face. Some nice implications of hidden depths.

It's because she's a cat owner, and knows she can't let it make the first move. :rainbowwild:

Now, who wants to bet that the rest of the Mane 6 get alicorned in the series finale?

Alicoronation party! Thanks, M. A. Larson!

I'd say middle-of-the-road is a pretty good place for a pilot. It wasn't terrible, but the show did get better from there.

Hay, it was good enough to set us on this road, wasn't it?

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5080901
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So, yeah. I give it 50/50, but the 50 that isn't "alicorns everywhere" is split between the others all having different means of achieving immortality and Twilight dying. Because "Twilight will not outlive her friends" but Rainbow Dash's lifestyle choices make natural lifespans irrelevant to that proclamation.

Now that we know that the Castle of the Two Sisters is where Celestia banished Luna, I wonder if the Everfree was a normal forest when the castle was built, and Celestia’s and Nightmare Moon’s fight caused the magic in it to go haywire.

Indeed, when they first arrive there they say the last known location of the elements is in "what is now the Everfree Forest." This makes Starswirl's assertion in the season 9 premiere that he used to fight off said forest back in his day quite the blatant disregard for continuity, if the show's writers can't even maintain consistency with the pilot of all things.

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